Despite a challenging economy, full-service Western Canadian marketing agency William Joseph Communications continues to grow its business, celebrating one of its most successful years yet.
The key has been its ability to adapt over the years and diversify its portfolio.
Ryan Townend, the Calgary-based company’s CEO and founder, said it seemed like the company hit its stride in the last year.
“We really dialled into what the consumers needed. What the public needed. What companies needed. What not-for-profits needed. We really service a market where we can act as their external marketing team as well as provide resources to the global giants.
“I think it’s our good work, our reputation, our marketing, all these variables just started to really turn and the level of interest in our agency has just been soaring for the last three years. There’s a lot of momentum in the market.”
The company was founded in 2002 and has grown to four offices, including Saskatoon, Red Deer and Grande Prairie, with about 30 staff.
The Calgary office has been in operation since the company was founded. The Saskatoon office opened about 10 years ago, while Red Deer and Grande Prairie opened last year.
“We’re completely down to earth. You will 100 per cent all the time find me wearing my jeans in my office. So when any client comes into our space, they don’t feel intimidated,” says Townend. “We don’t have an ego. We truly don’t.”
In the past year, the company has added a number of clients to its portfolio, as well as eight new members to its team. And it was nominated for the ATB Small Business of the Year Award.
Over the last 15 years, William Joseph expanded its client base to include entrepreneurs, non-profits and businesses of all sizes and from multiple industries, including energy, technology, tourism and professional services.
“There’s a lot of businesses that are hurting and we’re like ‘How do we help you get back in the game or maintain the market share that you have? We understand it’s not the time for you to perhaps invest full throttle but like geez, man, you can’t lose any more.’ Or, ‘What can we do to help you do the best you can in this economy?’” said Townend.
“The thing that I learned from the last recession in 2008 is you’ve got to diversify. I was all oil and gas in 2008 and it hurt when they stopped spending. Now our portfolio is completely diverse and four cities … I never want to have one account that dominates our client list because God knows if they pull we’re screwed. At WJ, I would say there’s not one account that’s more than five per cent of our total revenue.”
The recent openings of the Red Deer and Grande Prairie offices enabled the agency to diversify its portfolio and welcome many notable clients, including the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce and Westerner Park, who William Joseph worked with to rebrand the Canadian Finals Rodeo and bring awareness of its new home in Red Deer.
Additional new clients include Saskatoon-based Meridian Development, whose brand for Escala, a new luxury development, was built and launched by William Joseph, and Excir Works, an innovative company most recently known for showcasing on CBC’s Dragon’s Den its breakthrough technology, which extracts gold from electronic waste.
“It’s all about smart growth because sales doesn’t necessarily mean profit. I’ve learned that. So you have to always get to the next level and then become efficient at that level. Then grow again,” said Townend. “For us, it’s just to continually become smarter and smarter and smarter and stay on top of the industry. Add more and more amazing talent to the team to better serve our existing customers and then if their buddies hear about us, then they’re welcome to come on over.”
Townend hosts a monthly networking event called Ryan’s Roundup at Ranchman’s Cookhouse & Dancehall Inc. (9615 Macleod Trail S.E.). The event is open to the public at no charge with 75 to 100 people each month attending.
William Joseph has also launched its own marketing magazine that it publishes twice a year.